Fielding depicts a variety of female characters, belonging to different strata of society , in 'Tom Jones'. - comment
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Feilding illustrated through his female (and male) characters that the personal qualities of honor, virtue and integrity are not defined by class or social status.
We see this particularly in Bridget Allworthy. She carries the family name, which certainly describes her brother’s generous and benevolent nature, but she is not the respectable and upstanding lady she purports to be. By the end of the novel, she is discovered to be the mother of the foundling Tom, and had paid Jenny Jones to confess to the ‘heinous’ sin of having an illegitimate child.
Jenny Jones, in contrast, is a scholarly and wise individual. She bears the criticism of the parish, and the sermonizing of Squire Allworthy, to protect Bridget and her child. Bridget is revealed to be less than worthy, and Jenny is used as an ‘engine’ to cover Bridget’s indiscretion.
Sophia Western, believed to be based on Fielding’s first wife, is more of a flat character, with her beauty without and within being her major contribution to the text. Mrs Wilkins, the judgmental servant who condemns all who she is jealous of, is almost a caricature. She is the terrifying ‘kite’ who is hated by the parish and who accuses and condemns Jenny on the scantest of evidence.
Honour Blackmore, Sophia’s loyal servant, shows her dedication to her mistress when she is dismissed by her own engineering so she can continue to support Sophia.
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